Recovering from surgery takes rest, medication, and systematic wound care. Following all of the doctor's orders allows a patient to recover faster and with fewer long-term issues. For ostomy patients, in which waste is removed from the body outside of the normal biological functioning, it is imperative to take proper care of the area.
Post ostomy surgery requires care of the stoma, which is the opening that comes as a result of the surgery. Post-surgery care means applying a paste to act as a sealant when using a pouch or bag for waste collection. The paste gives patients a barrier so leaking doesn't occur and helps in sealing any of the gaps that may be present. Pastes can be applied directly to the stoma as they are designed to be non-toxic and won't cause infection of the wound site. A doctor can determine the specific paste that needs to be used and the one that will be most beneficial during post-surgery recovery or long-term care.
As far as applying the paste, most medical pastes come in a tube and need to be applied manually to the area. In Canada, this type of paste is manufactured and comes in a 2oz tube. These alcohol-based pastes are designed not to absorb any of the stool that might leak, and will therefore provide a waterproof seal against leakage. Of course, this seal isn't permanent and over time the consistency and sealing properties of the paste will diminish and re-application becomes necessary. In general, depending on how often you need to have the pouch or bag changed, a paste will usually last 1 or 2 months between applications. And as with all applications, there is the possibility of a reaction, including irritation to the area or even blisters. If this occurs a doctor will recommend another product that won't cause irritation to the patient's skin. Another issue that may occur with tube paste is that the application can be difficult, especially if done by the patient, who may not have the required strength or flexibility to apply the paste properly.
Strips are a common alternative to pastes and offer the same benefits with the possibility of easier application. The strips come in pre-determined lengths and offer the benefit of not drying out like pastes can do if left exposed to open air. If pastes and stips don't work there is a third option available, barrier rings. Rings work in a similar fashion and provide a barrier to keep anything from leaking out. The rings are applied using the adhesive that is already on the ring and applied to the skin and the appliance. The rings are more expensive than the other applications, which can be a detractor.
The right application depends on the patient and the type of surgery that was completed. It might be paste, stips, or rings that provide the best sealant. Doctors can help in determining which application is right and necessary for continued care and leak stoppage around the area.